A Quest Revealed
Gilraen continued to follow the tracks of her enemy, who, she was now sure was an orc. But the fact that it chose to follow the river and was going north, somehow disturbed her. The night that she had spent with the elves Gilraen had had an awful dream. She had seen many bright fires, a battlefield strewn with blood soaked corpses. She had seen her brother Arindon fighting against many orcs, the towers of Minas Tirith overtaken by fire, and then she saw her mother, who was trying to tell her something. Every since that night she had dreampt the same thing every night. There was a foreboding of things to come in her heart, and a shadow had loomed up over her heart, and got darker and darker the further she went. Finally, after a few days she sighted Minas Tirith a few miles off. Though she was hot on the trail of her enemy, she needed rest, and she needed some answers. She remembered vaguely about reading a foresight of Legolas that she had uncovered many years ago, and had been very puzzled over. She needed to see read it again, now that she was older and was the queen of the elves. She had pondered over how to get in the city, and then the archives without anyone seeing or taking notice of her. But when it all seemed hopeless, she remembered her cloak. No one would see anything but a shadow, if that, at night, she knew the passwords to get into the palace. It would be easy.
Gilraen waited until dusk to go into the city. When she did, the guards made no effort to stop her, and asked no questions. Once in she quickly turned Firewind down a very dark alley, and dismounted. She crept back up the alley, wrapped the cloak around her, and pulled the hood up onto her head. She clasped the cloak, and started walking up the street, everyone was hurrying to get home for their dinner, and only one or two of them payed attention to Gilraen. It took her half of an hour to do it, but she finally made it up to the castle door. “Who goes there?” A guard said as he stepped out into the light. “We have not seen you before here. What do you want of the King?” “Let me in. Long live the halflings, praise them with great praise.” Gilraen said, softly, trying to make her voice sound different. “You may speak the password, stranger, but I want to know what you want of the King.” The Guard replied sharply. “Langteren, what are you doing to this poor person?” Said a young man, coming out of the door. “Sorry your highness, this stranger wanted to come in and I was merely doing my job.” The soldier said, coming to attention, and then bowing. “Langteren?” Gilraen said, astonished at herself for not recognizing one of the captains of the castle guard. “Your highness?” He asked, sounding puzzled and with a confused look on his face. The young man to looked surprised, and then bowed. “Yes, it is me. Would you please let me in.” She replied forgivingly, and a little impatiently. “You’re supposed to be at Belfalas.” Langteren said angrily. He was a little ashamed for his behavior toward the princess, and a little upset at the thought that she had run away. “Let me through.” Gilraen said through gritted teeth, and when Langteren did nothing, walked past him, and opened the door herself. She had to act quickly, Langteren would no doubt find another guard to take his place quickly, and then go and tell her father. She grabbed a torch, and ran down the stairs to the archives. “Where is it?” She thought. She ran over to the shelves which she had recently just re-organized. She had put everything that had been puzzling her in one large pile. She quickly grabbed it and started shuffling through the papers. “Ah! Here it is!” She said as she picked up the manuscript she had been looking for from among the others. She hastily put them back into order, picked up the paper, and sat down at the reading desk nearby. She wetted the dry ink with a little water from the jar next to the desk, and began to carefully copy the words from the original to a new piece of paper. Just as she had finished, she heard her father angry shout, and Langterens’ replying one. She must get out, before they came down and blocked her in. “Down here! Whoever it was, we’ll catch them!” A voice yelled. Gilraen recognized it as the voice of the young man she had met earlier. There was only one thing she could do. She pulled back the hood, and threw back her cloak over her shoulder. “Come up whoever is down there in the name of the King of Gondor and
Arnor !” The young man shouted down. She could hear her fathers’ angry mutter, and the determined one of Langteren. She walked up the stairs. At the top was the young man, her father, another man of about her fathers’ age, and Langteren. The young man had his sword drawn and her father had the great sword Anduril. “What do you want of the Queen of the Elves?” She asked solemnly and threateningly. Her father started, and looked shocked. “The voice is of my daughter, and yet not of my daughter. So is the face.” He muttered to himself. Langterens’ eyes were wide with shock and fear, and the young man looked as if he wasn’t so sure of himself. “We mean no harm, but what have you to say for creeping in here majesty?” He said “Only a common thief would do such a thing. Anyway, you have no elvish ears, you are a mere impostor.” Then he once again raised his blade which had sunk to the ground when he had seen her. “I am the selected heir of Queen Arwen. Stand aside.” Gilraen said calmly. The young man did not move. “Stand Aside.” She repeated. “Not until I have authorization from his majesty King Aragorn.” He replied through gritted teeth. “Father, let me go, I have things to do. Go tend to your injured son in Belfalas.” Gilraen said gently, turning to her father. “This is my daughter.” Aragorn said, after staring into her eyes for awhile. “But you must stay here daughter. Fighting an enemy is not what I want you to do.” “I will go, whether you like it or not.” She said, drawing her sword. “Fare ye well.” With that, Gilraen saluted her father, sheathed her sword, and ran out of the castle. Her father, Langteren, and the young man ran after her. She barely had enough time to mount Firewind and get out of the alley before they blocked her in. She galloped out of the city gates before the guards could close it, and didn’t even look back.
Gilraen rode all night and all day. Firewind never showed any complaint to the fast pace, and in fact went faster than any horse had ever gone except his ancestor, Shadowfax. By that evening she had reached Rauros falls. She dismounted and took the gear off of Firewind. She built a fire, and took out her copy of Legolas’ foresight. It was written in elvish, and was very elaborate and beautiful. She spoke it in its original elvish as she read it. It sounded like little bells chiming and pealing, like the sound of running water, and Gilraen felt better than she had in a very long time. Then she said it in the common tongue. “One will rise to take the place of the most beautiful queen of all. The hope of all Gondor, the pride of Arnor, the daughter of man and elf shall inherit it all. Queen of the elves, O fairest one, take up the elven call. Warrior Queen you must be, crowned by elven king no more, save your people. An enemy, great you shall face, but shall you conquer? That I cannot see. Take up the elven call. Mother of hope, now be hope, Gilraen we call to thee!” Gilraen sat and thought over what she had just read. “Ruler of all?” She said to herself. “How can I be ruler of all? My brothers and sisters do come first in line to the throne. I do hope that they are not doomed to die.” This puzzled her, and she wasn’t sure what to think, when all at once an arrow landed in the ground just next to foot. She sprang to her feet, drawing her sword at the same time, and ran out away from the fire. Then she saw her attacker, next to some ruins. It was indeed an orc. That was all she could tell in the darkness, but she crept away from the fire and fell to the ground and waited. The orc came nearer and nearer, and finally was close enough for her to touch. It kept on walking toward the fire, and as soon as it had passed her she jumped to her feet and cut off its head with one quick stroke of her elven blade. She quickly grabbed the head and threw it into the river. Gilraen did the same thing with the body, but not before seeing a faded red eye on its shield. “Sauron.” She gasped. She pushed the body out into the river and quickly washed her hands.
When she returned to camp she started thinking. It didn’t make sense that the orc had been dressed as one of Saurons’ fighting orcs. It had been centuries since Sauron had been overthrown. Anyway, after Sauron was conquered, there was a great scourge of Middle Earth, and any orc or troll that was found was killed. But even if this one had survived, the probability that it would have gone into Gondor was very slim. But however it got to the cliffs in Belfalas, its presence was foreboding a great evil. “What did Legolas say? ‘A warrior queen you must be.’ Well, this proves that I’ll need to be a warrior. I have little knowledge of sword fighting, though I have had a good training for battle through all of the accounts of the great kings that I have read. I must learn how to fight though. Since I am an elven queen, I will go to the elves in Eryn Lasgalen, and stay there until my time comes. I am sorry that I will not see those that I love for a long while yet to come, but I must take comfort in knowing that I will see them once again when I truly have become the warrior queen of the elves.” With that she spread her cloak out on the ground and lay down and went to sleep. The next morning she quickly packed out her camp, killed the already dying fire, and continued on her journey. That night before going to sleep she had resolved to visit Edoras, go through Fanghorn, up through Lothlorien, and across Dale to get to Eryn Lasgalen. It was not the shortest way, but she wanted to see them all as they were now, for she feared that great damage would come to them in the time to come. She kept Firewind at an easy gait, and very shortly came to Amon Hen. She dismounted, and went up to the chair. She got up and sat on it. But instead of just seeing the all the land from the Misty Mountains over to the dry and flat Mordor, she saw it as it was through one eye, and through the other saw it completely changed. Battles were raging, a new fortress was built in Mordor and the dirt mountains remade all around it. She saw Edoras burning, and a desperate battle at Helms Deep. Fire was everywhere. It was awful, simply awful. Gilraen tore herself from the ghastly sight and got off the chair. What she had seen had scared and unnerved her badly. She sat down on the ground and put her head in her hands and wept. Firewind came up to her and nudged her with her head, and it seemed as if the horse was truly concerned for its young mistress. But Gilraen payed no attention to Firewind, or anything else. It was past noon when she finally got up, but she found that she had no heart to ride, and just sat down again. Finally, when it was getting darker, she got up and mounted Firewind. Now she was angry, and there was no time to lose. She must get to Mirkwood as soon as possible. There was no time to see Edoras, though she would have to go through Fanghorn and Lothlorien. Gilraen needed to prepare for the coming times of darkness and shadow, and no one knew it better than herself. This time she urged Firewind onward constantly, and they traveled across all of Rohan that night. By daybreak they had reached Fanghorn, but they didn’t stop. By midday the woods were thinning, and Gilraen could hear the sound of running water. Soon she would be in Lothlorien! Gilraens’ heart beat sped up and she came nearer the blessed place. An hour later she had passed the border into Lothlorien. Gilraen dismounted, knelt, and kissed the earth. She again mounted Firewind, but he only walked. It was very faded, and little of the elves beautiful forest remained, but there was something that was still in the air, and it was indeed a blessed place. When night came Gilraen merely dismounted, ate, and went to sleep. In the morning she rose and continued on her way. She did not meet a single elf, along the way, but she did hear singing off in the distance, and her heart rejoiced. Gilraen stopped and supped a little at noon, but then mounted again and continued. Though beautiful, she had no time to spare, and by no means could she afford to stop for anything other than nourishment and rest. Late in the afternoon she came to its easternmost border and crossed into Eryn Lasgalen.